Using Goal Setting to Support Company Strategy for Maximum Business Success

Strategic planning is incredibly important in setting the direction for long-term company success. A critical component of strategic planning is to utilize goal setting as means of implementing and accomplishing strategy in the short and long term. A plan is only a plan until the action is taken to move the compass forward. 

What can easily happen in small family businesses, is a vision, mission, and purpose for the company gets designed early on and then doesn’t get reviewed because day-to-day work takes over. Strategic planning can turn into fiscal assessment and projections only, but the bigger picture of the company gets lost along the way. Using a holistic and metric-based strategy will make the company more agile and proactive to market and customer changes. 

To accomplish the company’s strategic plan, goals are used to create functional means of producing results. Managers can learn to collaborate with employees to set goals that reflect the company’s strategies using tools and best practices that are motivating to the employee.

Here are 5 tips on how to set effective goals to support company strategy.

1. Understand the importance of having goals that align with company strategy

First, let’s define the individual roles of strategy and goals. It will make it easier to see where goals fit into the big strategic picture.

Strategy is higher level thinking and planning, which asks for choices to be made through 3 key questions:

  • Why do we exist?
  • What do we do? 
  • How do we do it?

What role does goal setting play?

Goals break the strategy down into tangible parts that will result in action steps being taken to meet the goals. Based on the FAST goals approach, goal setting needs to be frequently reviewed, ambitious, specific, and transparent. 

When goals align with the company strategy, progress will become evident in the direction it was intended. Utilizing tools and metrics while designing and implementing the goals will provide the feedback needed to guide, evaluate and adapt goals as needed.

2. Characteristics of effective & collaborative goal setting

Collaborative goal setting involves a team working together to identify, develop and design goals to meet the strategic plan of the company. Having a team rather than an individual develop goals brings in a diverse perspective, insight, skills, and experience. This will result in a more comprehensive and effective effort than an individual or board alone would do to establish goals.

From micro teams at the ground level, through to management and leadership of the company, goals will need to be designed in multiple layers. Most importantly they must always be in alignment with strategy.

Goals make strategy happen. The action plans stemming from goal setting are where things get done tactically. 

Here are the 4 characteristics of setting effective FAST goals:

  • Frequently reviewed – to ensure they address market viability, resource availability, and are updated based on current information
  • Ambitious – stimulates motivation to accomplish goals
  • Specific – accurate, accountable, and measurable
  • Transparent – across and within teams – keeps teams and individuals accountable

3. Obstacles can sabotage goals, here is how to overcome them

We have all had experience in designing a strategically aligned goal, to only have it be blocked from moving forward by some mechanism we didn’t see earlier on. Obstacles can appear at any time in the goal-setting and achievement process. Following due diligence to ensure the goal is supporting strategic vision, and has a clear purpose, intention, and tactical outlay will help to prevent hitting obstacles. Further, by doing preparation, and incorporating a team into goal setting, if obstacles do appear, they can be successfully managed.

How to overcome obstacles:

  • Identify the obstacle – what do you know about it, and how is it interfering with the path to your goal?
  • Innovation and creativity – seek solutions, clarify problems – do you understand what the obstacle is, what caused it?
  • Review, monitor, and evaluate goals as you move forward – this will allow you to pivot and adapt if needed to prevent hitting roadblocks
  • Are you equipped with the skills and resources to solve the problem, if not, who can you bring in to assist and provide insight, and objectivity?

4. Explore best practices for setting goals

There are many ways to set goals to support company strategy, but by following these important tips, managers can make goal setting easy, collaborative, motivating, and enjoyable for employees. 

Here are 6 key practices for success

  • Start small – avoid overwhelm by breaking it down into steps
  • Follow up often – keep an eye on goal progress
  • Make it measurable – this is how you will define if the goal implementation is working, or if it needs to be re-evaluated. 
  • Praise success – employees need to hear they are valued and appreciated for their efforts and contributions to the teams
  • Provide incentive – what gets buy-in from your staff? What will motivate them to continue even if faced with obstacles or challenges on the goal journey?
  • Team build new goals together – make it a team effort – gain insight, valuable perspective, and innovation, contribution by building goals with diverse input

5. Set up accountability

How can you keep your team accountable to reach their goals?

Goal setting is somewhat like project management – when goals are clearly identified and strategically aligned it is time to get tactical. Here is how to ensure accountability is trackable and can easily be adhered to. 

  • Identify who is responsible for specific tasks
  • Clearly note what the milestones and deliverables are – be specific with deadlines. If deadlines are not reached, evaluate what happened and how to course correct
  • Ensure the vision and details of the project are accessible for all team members to see – this will help with clarity, purpose, and motivation
  • List the resources available to the team, including tools, contact information, and training needed to complete the project
  • Managers can encourage and support each person on the project, reminding the team each individual has a valuable place in the team to contribute to achieving the desired goal. 
  • If a team member is not getting their work done or contributing, then it is time for a one-on-one meeting with the manager to assess what is happening and how to course correct.

Team members must be accountable to each other and complete their individual roles. Timelines flow from one stage to the next as each task is often dependent on the previous task’s completion for the new one to begin.


Goal setting is a critical part of putting company strategy into action. It makes the vision tangible. Managers can use collaboration on teams to design, evaluate and monitor goals. Creating goals that are FAST, following best practices, and keeping the team accountable are proactive, success-oriented methods of implementing a strategic plan. What goals will you set to put your company strategy into action?

Do you have a strategic plan for your family business? Are you struggling to get it implemented and create a process to make that plan a tangible reality? I work with family businesses to guide, counsel, and educate business owners and employees on how to overcome obstacles and move the company forward in a way that supports owners, employees, customers, and the company for success. 

Need help? Click the button below and book a Discovery Call to talk about your business needs.

Join us this month of June for our Lunch and Learn topic – to talk more about how to set goals that are in strategic alignment in your family business. Click the link HERE to join us on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, @ 12 pm EST.

Next month’s topic for July: How to Provide Clear Expectations and Effective Feedback. Join us on Tuesday, July 25th at noon EST, to gain valuable insight in communicating with your employees to support company success.

Wendy Dickinson

About the Author

Wendy Dickinson is the founder of Ascend Coaching Solutions LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in working with business owners and executives who plan to expand their leadership capacity as their business grows.

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